Tag Archives: Saoirse Ronan

Lady Bird

I blame the trailer. Lady Bird wasn’t what I expected it to be. And now that I’ve seen the film, I can no longer ‘see’ what it was I thought it’d be. So don’t ask me. I was experiencing a slightly empty feeling on the way home from the cinema last night. But the film has stayed with me, and I believe I have worked out what it was, other than ‘not the trailer.’

Lady Bird – her own name for herself, which seems better than the one her parents came up with 17 years earlier – is trying to work out what she wants to do with her life after she leaves school. Many of us have been there.

Sacramento is dead boring and her mother hates her. None of that is true, of course, but it feels that way. As the rather fabulous old nun at Lady Bird’s Catholic school says, she seems to love Sacramento. But she wants to go to college on the East Coast, she dreams of living in a posh house and she wants a boyfriend. Or she thinks she does.

Her mother doesn’t hate her. She is ‘merely’ exhausted, working double shifts, worrying about her husband being unemployed, worrying about her beloved daughter disappearing off to some unknown and probably dangerous place. They have so little money Lady Bird has to resort to stealing the magazine she wants, and it might seem odd that they then go shopping for a dress for Thanksgiving, and later on a prom dress. What they do, is try everything on and when Lady Bird has decided, her mother sits up all night sewing a copy of the winning dress. That’s not hate.

It’s easy to lose track of who is your true friend. Lady Bird tries a few new ‘friends’ and ‘boyfriends’ until she realises who she needs.

This is actually quite a lovely film, once you know what you’ve come for. I only wish someone hadn’t picked bits for the trailer that really should have belonged to some other film.

Saoirse Ronan is always great.

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Brooklyn

What with lack of time to actually get to the cinema in recent months, I decided to splash out and treat us to some home cinema over Easter, so bought two DVDs. (Yes, real splash, that.) And then we ran out of time, and barely managed one of the films after all.

As Daughter preferred to watch Brooklyn, that’s the one we saw, and I’m glad we did. I’d come across some less than enthusiastic comments when it was available on the big screens, but here at CultureWitch Towers we enjoyed it, and personally I could easily watch it soon again. If I had time, I mean.

Brooklyn

I suppose it was unrealistically romanticised, but I reckon you can see past that, and imagine what it was like to leave Ireland in 1951 and move to New York, all alone. And having vomited my way into England many years ago, I fully sympathise with looking green as you try and enter the US.

Brooklyn

Some things would be easier today, and others not. I quite liked the old Brooklyn, and thank god they made the landlady sympathetic, while no pushover. Julie Walters is always good. And I expect it’s modern media we have to thank for feeling suspicious of Irish priests, which wasn’t necessary here, with Jim Broadbent as your dream religious father figure.

Having seen trailers – in the actual cinema – I was afraid Eilis would opt to stay in Ireland when she returned. What I felt made the story true was the fact that you can love both places and want to be in the new place as well as the old one. You just need something that helps you decide. That feeling when you realise how much you belong where you grew up. Or the feeling when you can see that the new place is good and you want to stay.

Brooklyn

Because that old priest had a one very good comment to make on homesickness; how most people have it and it’s bad, but eventually it stops and someone else catches the bug instead. It does, most of the time, and often you don’t even notice that it’s stopped hurting so much.

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And then it’s your turn to help someone newer – not to mention greener – than yourself. It’s how it works.

There’s nothing wrong with feelgood films, and besides, there was plenty to cry over too.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

It wasn’t at all what I’d imagined. I suppose I was simply a bit careless and thought it’d be a touching story about a hotel concierge. In the hotel, I mean.

And it was, but only up to a point. M. Gustave reminded me somewhat of a holiday manager I encountered more than once, but I believe M. Gustave was far kinder and had rather more finesse than Mr B.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The crazy plot about a hotel concierge who sleeps with all the female guests, but who is both kind and friendly towards his recently employed lobby boy, young, stateless Zero, ought not to work. But it does.

When an old customer dies, the two travel to her stately home to pay their respects. They end up stealing a valuable painting and escaping the long arm of the law. There are some sad deaths, and when M. Gustave ends up in jail, it falls to Zero to run the hotel, as well as get his lovely girlfriend to bake cakes with files in…

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nice, light fun. No need to take it – too – seriously, and if you don’t, there is no need to be disappointed in the film. More big actor names than you can shake a stick at.

How I Live Now

How I Have Longed to be able to write that on here! Finally! My favourite book by my favourite author hits the big screen. And what a film! As I can’t be someone who has both read the book and not, I have no means of knowing if the bare and slightly changed bones of How I Live Now will be likely to confuse anyone coming fresh to the film.

I don’t think it should be a problem. People will simply see a really good film. A frightening film, and considerably darker than the book, Meg Rosoff was right to warn people not to take their under 14s to see it.

How I Live Now - film

Having already come to the conclusion that Saoirse Ronan looks just like Daisy should (which in itself is amazing), I was further gratified to see that the house looks exactly as I had imagined it, and the country lanes were the very lanes I’d walked along in the book. This hardly ever happens in films. Gradually you might get used to actors and settings, but for them to be right from the start is almost unheard of.

The cynical and jaded American teenager Daisy comes to England to visit her unknown cousins, but before you know how it happened, their countryside idyll has been ruined by war breaking out. Daisy and her young cousin Piper are separated from the two boys, Isaac and Edmond, and taken somewhere to help with the war effort. Daisy’s only thought is to escape and get back to the house where she fell in love with Edmond.

She and Piper make the agonisingly long walk back (but a lot easier looking in the film) to what appears to be hell. Without the novel’s New York style smart background commentary from Daisy, this is a lot bleaker.

Beautifully shot and surprisingly well adapted, How I Live Now is a great film, which hopefully will bring many new fans to Meg Rosoff’s books. Daisy with all her imperfections is a marvellous role model.